Career Development Week Provides TCU MBAs with a Competitive Advantage During Peak Recruiting Season

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Career Development Week

Every autumn, TCU’s Career Development Week goes into full effect, giving full-time MBA students multiple opportunities to refocus on the reasons why they chose to further their education. At the same time, Career Development Week is a kind of homecoming as well. TCU MBA alumni, along with well-respected mentors and career coaches, arrive on campus looking give students real-time feedback on how they can best succeed in their future endeavours.

Falling between the semesters’ second and third modules, Career Development Week also coincides with the height of the corporate recruiting season. Both first- and second-year Neeley MBAs traditionally take advantage of this time to get fully prepared to impress as they re-enter the professional workforce. Mock interviews (complete with a workshop component that provides students with invaluable feedback on their performance), sessions on how to manage the emotional roller coaster that is the job search, strategic networking "boot camps" and more are all integral to the experience Career Development Week offers.

When we asked students who attended this year’s Career Development Week what they found most beneficial, their expressed appreciation for how the events various programs and initiatives gave them access to knowledge they can leverage as they prepare to take the next step in their careers.

Without the "deeper insights" provided by Marc Cosentino — one of the world's foremost authorities on case interviewing, a best-selling author, and mentor who has coached, prepared more than 150,000 individuals for successful job searches — Anthony Coccaro, a first-year MBA candidate, feels he would never have addressed a critical gap in his knowledge. Workshopping with Marc on the subject of “case interviewing” required Anthony was asked to stretch himself, and significantly. In the process, he discovered that many of his MBA colleagues (himself included) have never been asked to demonstrate proof of performance in the ways that a case interview demands.

Anthony also found that Career Development Week's mock interviews with recent TCU alumni helped him hone his interview skills. According to Ashley Feldhues, Assistant Director of MBA Career Services, recent graduates "make excellent mock interviewers because they sat on the other side of the table just a year or two ago. They remember well the questions they were asked, the mistakes they made and the insights they received.” Moreover, alumni "truly enjoy giving back to the MBA program in the form of advice.”

Students also heard from guest speaker Jaymin Patel, a top-rated Career Speaker, trainer, coach and author. According to Anthony, Jaymin “charismatically gave us insights from his MBA experience and from being on the recruiter’s end. We often hear the basic 'to-do’s' with networking, but rarely hear solid insight from the recruiter’s perspective as to what actually works.”

Vanessa Contreras had the opportunity to participate in mock interviews with both Marc Cosentino and Jason Cirilo (formerly of Hewlett-Packard). According to Vanessa, their immediate feedback made these simulated scenarios felt very real, creating “the perfect environment to make mistakes and learn from them.” In addition, attending entrepreneur and TED speaker Jia Jiang's talk on how to manage rejections proved to be an invaluable experience. Beyond learning techniques for coping with "no," Vanessa developed her skills for securing a "yes."

Career Development Week's networking component inspired Vanessa to think differently about how to build and sustain strong professional relationships. She appreciated that Career Development Week emphasized that networking is not purely a matter of quid pro quo, but one of creating rapport and true personal connections with others. Vanessa particularly valued how Career Development Week's networking events reinforced that showing interest first is the best way to get others — including recruiters — to "want to learn more about you."

Career Development Week is just one of many experiential learning opportunities and professional development events available to students at TCU's Neeley School of Business. To learn more about all that differentiates TCU's MBA Program and has earned it top honors from "The Economist," "The Princeton Review," "Bloomberg Business," visit the Neeley School of Business website.

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